Among the nations to go to the ballot this year, are two renowned West African Nation of Nigeria and Senegal. The world watches Abuja and Dakar.
The countries of Muhammadu Buhari and Macky Sall will conduct presidential elections on February 16 and 24, respectively.
In January this year, the constitutional court approved five out of twenty-seven presidential aspirants to run for the February 24 slated elections. Among the main contenders is incumbent President Macky Sall, who will be seeking a second term. However, the candidacies of two main opposition contenders including Karim Wade (son of former president Abdoulaye Wade) and Dakar Mayor Khalifa Sall have been rejected. The Dakar court argued that Karim Wade is not a registered voter and stands no chance of being a candidate. And on the part of Dakar Mayor, he currently has a case in court as such loses his eligibility of running as president.
In the meantime, Macky Sall, who is seeking a second term in office has promised to serve with humility the people of Senegal and to ensure a better living standard for them. Sall said, “I pledge to intensify our achievements to bring with you, our country even further, even higher in the community of prosperous nations free and democratic”. Sall took over the helms in 2012. It is worth noting that Senegal has been hailed by many as of the most democratic and peaceful African nations. A country hasn’t no history of civil war. However, a new election law obliging candidates to have at least 52,000 signatories to stand as presidential candidates sparked protest mainly from the opposition. The 2019 polls mark the 11th presidential elections since Senegal gained independence in 1960.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of Nigeria in January confirmed a total of 72 eligible presidential candidates and another 72 running mates ahead of the February 16 polls. Ruling out any possibility of deferring elections, INEC Nigeria has asserted that all is set for the landmark polls. The pending race remains a hot one between two main political parties; All Progressive Congress party and the Peoples Democratic Party of Muhammadu and Akitu respectively.
ECOWAS calls for credible elections
Being member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Nigeria and Senegal have been challenged by the prominent bloc to ensure the smooth running and credible elections. Leaders of the regional bloc made this clarion call in December 2018, in a communique after their last gathering of the year in Abuja-Nigeria. One of the tenets of the bloc is to instill democratic principles in its member states.
Over the years, ECOWAS has been lauded for ensuring democracy among members. The role played by the bloc in ensuring a peaceful transfer of Power in the Gambia despite controversies was very commendable. The also ensure a peaceful power transfer in Liberia. Their involvement in finding a solution to the Togo crisis cannot also be undermined.
As Nigeria and Senegal continue electioneering ahead of next month’s elections, hopes remain high of peaceful, free and fair election processes.
Article from AFRIC editorial.